World of Warcraft patch 4.3 Preview

By Sean McQuillan

Okay WoW fans, patch 4.3 “Hour of Twilight” is fixing to introduce loads of new content. and to get things rolling the have released a 10 minute preview of the new dungeons and Raids.  It seems that the battle for Azeroth with Deathwing rages on, and this time crashing into Northrend.  We see Dragonblight seeing carnage and destruction well beyond what we’ve seen at the Wrathgate.  This preview shows us the faces of Deathwing’s allies that we must fight through, and a preview of the epic battles.  We see the re-emergence of the Infinite Dragonflight, who has been trying to destroy all existence by unraveling time itself.  We see Sylvanas’ return to Northrend, and with her increased power with the fall of Arthas, we may see a hint at her attempt to expand her dominion over the damned.  Fight along side the other Dragon Aspects as Wyrmrest Temple is shaken to it’s very foundation.  Fight to the bitter end and see the true face of Deathwing’s corruption and deterioration as you fight on his own back peeling away his adamantite armor.  Truly one of the most epic patches Blizzard has released to Date.  My words don’t do it justice, just give it a watch!

In addition to all this wonderful content, 4.3 will be introducing plenty of new features:

Raid Finder– Players can quickly and easily form a raid for a specifically tuned version of the Dragon Soul raid; works much like the Dungeon Finder feature.  This feature is a godsend for any who don’t have the time or the patience for a large raiding guild. Just like the regular Dungeon finder, this is likely to feature it’s share of morons and leeches.  I’m hoping that there’s a gear matching system to pair players with similarly geared allies.

Transmogrification – Customize the appearance of your weapons and armor.  While people have been asking for GuildWars style Armor Dye bottles, Transmogrification is above and beyond.  Being able to change your armor’s model to any other piece you’ve acquired will certainly lead to farming of old dungeons, or worse: Warcraft Hipsters.

Void Storage – Players of all levels can now open up 80 slots of long-term storage space.  While I’ve never really had storage problems, I’m never one to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I’m just excited to see more Ethereals.  They were the coolest looking part of Burning Crusade and it’s nice to see them relevant again.

Fangs of the Father – Legendary rogue quest line.  Full info on that is here. It’s looks like a new legendary dagger for rogues that will mirror the decent into madness and corruption that Deathwing suffered.  The coolest part?  You can get WINGS.

Note pictured: Stable full of lonely mounts.

·         The all-new Darkmoon Faire – Darkmoon Faire has been completely redesigned and offers all-new games and rewards for players to experience.  Full info on that here.  As an avid mount collector I can’t wait for the new mounts and pets available. 

What are you looking forward to most?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Free-to-Play Battle Arena Game, “Rise of Immortals,” Expands Accessibility

Petroglyph® today announced that it has expanded worldwide accessibility for its free-to-play Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game, Rise of Immortals™. In response to rising player demand in Europe, Petroglyph recently deployed new server hardware in its London data center, thereby significantly reducing server ping times to the UK, Germany, the Russian Federation, Poland, and other European regions.
The transition to new servers will be seamless for European Rise of Immortals players. The new servers use the existing game client and current player accounts, and players will be automatically routed to game servers that have the best performance for their region. In addition, the Rise of Immortals player community will remain united – North American and European players can still play on the same servers.
To celebrate the game’s expansion in European markets, Petroglyph also announced today a sale on the Immortal Trovoc, his accompanying Malevolent skin, Plush skin, and the new King Snake skin developed for this special. The sale is scheduled to be promoted on Steam’s “Spotlight” section beginning today through Monday morning.
Rise of Immortals is an online PC game that expands on the hit battle arena genre with new, innovative features, that is now available in Steam’s free-to-play section. The game also supports the Steam Wallet service, allowing players to purchase in-game items, Immortals, skins and more with their Steam Wallet funds.
Rise of Immortals features the popular action-strategy gameplay of traditional MOBA games, but adds enhanced socialization features, along with persistent character progression – a first for the MOBA genre. In addition, Rise of Immortals features a social hub where players can show off their enhanced Immortals, chat, emote, browse leaderboards, shop, update friend lists and more. Players also have the option of taking their Immortals through cooperative Player versus Environment (PvE) scenarios to learn the game, try out new abilities, and earn persistent experience before jumping into Player versus Player (PvP) matches.

Features of Rise of Immortals:
• Free-to-play
• 14 unique Immortals, with additional Immortals released on a regular basis
• Persistent per-Immortal level progression and skill trees
• Persistent artifacts for stat enhancements
• Player versus Environment instances with boss encounters
• Player versus Player instances with up to 5v5 multiplayer
• Player versus Bot instances with up to three-person cooperative play
• Persistent experience and leveling in both PvP and PvE instances
• Account and Immortal statistics tracking
• Player hub instances for socialization

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Links:
• Rise of Immortals Website: http://www.riseofimmortals.com
• RoI on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/riseofimmortals
• RoI on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/riseofimmortals

Trendy Entertainment Spooks Up Dungeon Defenders and Releases Free Halloween-Themed Content on Steam

Trendy Entertainment, D3Publisher and Reverb Publishing announced today that its recently released action/tower defense/RPG mash-up Dungeon Defenders is a runaway success across all three platforms – Steam, Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation® Network. To get in the spirit of the spookiest holiday of the year, Trendy is releasing several Halloween-centric pieces of downloadable content (DLC) to all Steam and TrendyNet users for free for a limited time:
• Eight brand new costumes for the four character classes – four of which everyone will get and four of which must be earned in-game
• An devilishly hard Halloween-themed mission where players can earn the four ultra-rare costumes
• Eight new Halloween-themed weapons (two apiece for each class)
• A redesigned tavern for your heroes to celebrate Halloween in
Note: All purchases of Dungeon Defenders PC come with a Steam code to access ranked online play via TrendyNet.

Diablo III to arrive in early 2012

Source: Battle.Net

We commonly use the term “soon” when referring to Blizzard releases, because we know that no matter how hard we’re working to reach a target, we’re not going to compromise and launch a game before it’s ready. For Diablo III, we were aiming to launch by the end of 2011. As we’re announcing globally today, our new target for the game is early 2012.

While this news might not be a complete surprise, I know that many of you were hopeful that Diablo III would ship this year. We were too. However, this week we pulled together people from all of the teams involved with the game to decide whether we felt it would be ready before the end of December, and we grudgingly came to the conclusion that it would not. Ultimately, we feel that to deliver an awesome Diablo sequel that lives up to our expectations and yours as well, we should take a little more time and add further polish to a few different elements of the game.

The upside of today’s announcement is that we will be running the beta test longer than we initially planned, which will allow us to invite more of you who have opted in.

For those taking on the Diableard challenge, we salute you — and now fear for your well-being and personal hygiene. We hereby issue an official reprieve to all Diableard participants, including Blizzard employees, if you want to trim or otherwise manage the lower half of your face. We’d still love to see your beardly achievements, and we look forward to seeing more of your efforts as we move into 2012, but not to the detriment of your workplaces and significant others.

Thank you everyone for your support and anticipation for Diablo III. We’re still moving ahead at full pace, and we’ll be keeping you fully informed of any news and developments here at Diablo3.com, including the specific release date when the time comes, so stay tuned.

-Mike Morhaime

 

Alice: The Madness Returns

By Sean McQuillan

Developer: Spicy Horse

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Designer: American McGee

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3

Genre: Action-Adventure, Platform

Modes: Single-Player

 

Rating:  2/5 Buggy but Beautiful

 

Madness Returns picks up shortly after where the first Alice game left off.  Alice is free of Rutledge Asylum and is seeing a hypno-therapist by the name of Dr. Angus Bumby.  Alice is still coming to terms with the death of her family in the fire that engulfed her childhood home.  As she finds her madness returning, wink wink, she reenters Wonderland to find it once again corrupted.  Alice must take up the Vorpal blade once again as she cut her way through the twisted horrors of her mind to confront the source of its corruption.  All the while Alice must make friends of past enemies, depose the new self-proclaimed rulers of Wonderland, and heed the advice of her constant companion, the Cheshire Cat, as she holds onto what memories she has left.

Many feel as though Madness Returns is more of a port of the original Alice to a modern graphics engine.  While it’s true that the aesthetic remains the same, only with layers of beautiful polish, the story is better than ever.  The beautiful and twisted imagery of Wonderland guarantee a degree of replay value, as does the New Game + mechanic that would allow you to replay the game with all the weapons and upgrades of the previous playthrough.  One delightfully subtle touch is Alice’s dresses, which change depending on what part of Wonderland she’s in.  From the dystopian clockwork realm of the Mad Hatter, to the charnel decrepit realm of the Red Queen, Alice is always dressed the part.

The controls on the PC version feel very much like they were designed for a console controller.  With platforming making up the majority of the gameplay, you may find yourself remapping keys or springing for a gamepad.  One Madness Returns biggest flaws is in its buggy mechanics.  With a new lock on system for ranged  combat a step up from the card throwing of the original, far too often it will glitch and now allow you to unlock if the enemy fell into a bottomless pit.  The melee combat has taken more than a few pointers from the God of War series, and for the most part I feel it benefits from it.  Once again, the controls will feel more natural with a gamepad controller than a keyboard.

The platforming sections are just as good as ever, but often make Wonderland seem both expansive and empty.  Often times buggy collision can cause Alice to miss a jump, or pass straight through the walkway she’s on.  More than once I got stuck on a tricky platforming section because the camera decided to swing around me mid jump.

The story explores the motley cast of characters that populate American McGee’s delightful interpretation of Wonderland, and shows how they’ve changed since Alice’s departure and the new corruption.  Far too often however, the final showdowns with many of these characters is handled in a cut-scene leaving me pondering if the boss fight was simply not available unless the game were set on a harder difficulty.  The most drab sections, understandably, are the section where Alice explores the real world.  The transitions back to Wonderland are satisfyingly uncanny, and always signified for me the return to the fun.

With passable platforming, bugs, and average combat it’s hard to recommend this game to a broad audience.  If you have played the first Alice, or simply want to explore a visually stunning decent into madness, then you’ll enjoy this game.

Sony Online Entertainment Releases Green Mana

MtGT - LogoSony Online Entertainment today releases the natural power of Green Mana, revealing some of the gargantuan creatures and elemental spells appearing in Magic: The Gathering – Tactics, the animated grid-based tactics title due out this winter for the PC.

 Life, growth and continual regeneration drive Green Mana wizards to war against the manmade artifacts and enchantments that threaten the natural order of the world. Taping into the strength of the earth itself, Green Planeswalkers can extend their own life with regenerating spells while summoning frenzied behemoths that trample weaker creatures under hoof. Planeswalkers can pull from a wealth of forest found creatures, including the unstoppable Force of Nature, the Enormous Baloth and legendary planeswalker Garruk Wildspeaker

new this week

ProtoGalaxy PC (online) Source Studio Dec 6, 2010

Batheo Web ClapAlong Dec 7, 2010

Bejeweled 3 Web PopCap Games Dec 7, 2010

Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom PC (online) Paradox Interactive Dec 7, 2010

SBK X Superbike World Championship  PC  Deep Silver Dec  7, 2010

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm  Mac  Blizzard  Dec 7, 2010

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm  PC  Blizzard  Dec 7, 2010

DoTA – Warcraft III’s Fountain of Youth

by Anthony (Rice King) Rice

The average lifetime for games is roughly a year. For particularly good games with strong re-playability, multiplayer, and Evolution factor it may be longer; for games such as X-blades and Golden Axe: Beastrider, it may be a matter of days. It is very rare that a game lasts 7 years and is still increasing in gamer base. It is even rarer that the main gamer base of a game is simply playing one map, which is actually a Mod. Warcraft III Mods, specifically the Mod DoTA (Defence of the Ancients), have helped Warcraft III live for 7 years and will help it survive for years to come.

A composited map of the latest DoTA Map

A composite version of the latest DoTA Map

DoTA is a RPG/Strategy game where you have two sides that are vying for control over the land, the Sentinel and the Scourge. Each side can have a maximum of five players. There are three lanes that connect the bases (see above illustration), and periodically NPC’s (known as creeps) get sent down the lanes from each base to fight for their team. The point of the game is to push the creeps and enemy heroes back to their base and destroy their main building. You can only do this after destroying the towers in a lane all the way through to their main building.

Dota Load Screen

Dota Load Screen

One thing that makes DoTA so popular is its always increasing complexity. As of writing this, there are currently 93 Heroes, 54 Items, and 56 Recipes. Recipes basically need a combination of 2 or more items in order to concoct a better item. This makes it advanced and challenging enough to make it always fun. With so many different possible combinations of items there is always room to try new strategies with different heroes. Another great thing about this game is that the learning curve isn’t too steep. This is one of the main reasons why the user base is growing constantly. The controls are that of a normal strategy game, which is comfortable for many gamers. After only a few games, new players can get the gist of the main strategies and get the hang of how recipes work. Many WoW players say that the game is similar to BattleGrounds, the PvP areas in WoW. This is also another reason why DoTA is so popular; WoW players can take a break from leveling and try to duke it out in a more relaxed brawlfest. The complexity of gameplay, the challenge, the moderate learning curve, and the familiarity make DoTA a blast for many gamers.

Screenshot from DoTA

Screenshot from DoTA

Of all the games that came out in 2002, only one can stand above the rubble and claim victory for having the longest and best run. Warcraft III has DoTA to thank for its success in the latter years of its popularity. As long as there are developers creating new items and heroes, there will always be an interest in DoTA, and therefore the gamer base will ever increase.